31 Dec 2012

Confiscation of Fiji draft constitution warning about closer relations - academic

7:57 am on 31 December 2012

A Fijian academic says the confiscation of Fiji's draft constitution should be a warning to New Zealand to reconsider the pace it is moving toward resuming full relations with the regime.

The chair of the Constitutional Commission, Professor Yash Ghai, told Radio Australia that police intimidated him as they poured kerosene on, and burned proofs of, the draft document in front of him.

He says they took all 600 copies away with them.

Megan Whelan has more.

"The regime, which commissioned the draft as part of a constitutional process leading to elections in late 2014, has made no comment on the incident. But Fiji's NGO Coalition on Human Rights says the action must worry countries, such as New Zealand, which have supported Fiji in the constitutional process. An Australian-based Fijian academic, Professor Brij Lal, says the action suggests the military government is not serious about restoring full democracy. He says the international community must be vigilant - as the military regime believes the rest of the world will simply acquiesce to its demands."